Criminal Law Doctrines

What are the Characteristics of Criminal Law?

Generality means that the criminal law of the country governs all persons who lives or sojourns in the Philippines (Article 14, NCC), subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreement. Ambassadors, chiefs of states and other diplomatic officials are immune from the application of penal laws when they are in the country where they are assigned (People vs. Galacgac, CA., 54 O.G. 1027). Acts performed should be in official capacity and performance of his duty (G.R. No. 125865. January 28, 2000).

Territoriality means that the penal laws of the country have force and effect only within the National Territory of the Philippines, subject to certain exceptions brought about by international agreements and practice. The territory of the country is not limited to the land where its sovereignty resides but includes also its atmosphere, its interior waters and maritime zone, including those outside of its jurisdiction as provided in Article 2, paragraphs 1-5 of RPC. 

Prospectivity means the law acts or omissions will only be subject to a penal law if they are committed after a penal law had already taken effect. Vice-versa, this act or omission which has been committed before the effectivity of a penal law could not be penalized by such penal law. Exception: (1) when new statute it is favorable to the accused and (2) the accused is not a habitual delinquent (Article 22 of RPC).

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